Paul Smith


I have been involved in civil litigation for over 30 years, with most of that time spent working for insurers. I undertake a wide range of civil litigation including insurance coverage disputes, commercial property cases and defending prosecutions under both the Health & Safety in Employment Act and the Resource Management Act.

I have handled numerous subrogated recovery claims and defence litigation for insurers including State, NZI, Lumley, AMI and Allianz. These have included cases involving arson and fraud, complex civil matters, leaky building disputes and earthquake litigation, at all Court levels up to the Supreme Court. I am recognised as a recommended lawyer by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022 legal directory for insurance. 

Highlights of some of my recent cases include:

  • High Court litigation involving a dispute over the extent of earthquake damage sustained to large commercial buildings.
  • Disputed claim concerning damage sustained as a result of alleged misapplication of commercial spray.
  • Fire at a commercial factory caused by fraud and arson. The claim was successfully declined and criminal proceedings were instituted against one of the directors.
  • Court of Appeal case on the measure of damages claimable by credit hire companies, the first decision of its kind in New Zealand.
  • Successfully represented an insurer in a dispute about whether or not there had been earthquake damage to a residential property.